The soft knocking on the door disturbed Faith. She rolled over, still half asleep and whacked her hand into the pillows on the other side of the bed. Moaning, she lay there for a few moments, but then the knocking got louder and she forced herself up.
‘Hello?’ she called in a tried voice.
‘It’s only me, Miss,’ the voice of Faith’s maid, Mary, called through the door.
The door creaked opened and the young woman shuffled in carrying a large jug. She was dressed in a typical black dress with a white frilled apron. Her dark hair was tied up under a white cap, allowing too much of her rosy face to be seen. Mary walked across the room and over to a bowl by the window. Tipping the jug gently, water splashed down and into the bowl. then placing the empty jug down, she moved to the wardrobe.
‘I heard something last night,’ Faith said as she slide from the bed, ‘it sounded like a man pacing the hallway. There seemed to be no one there though. You wouldn’t know anything about that would you?’
Mary paused in her search through Faith’s wardrobe, ‘So, you’ve heard him have you, Miss?’
‘Heard who?’ Faith snapped.
‘The ghost solider, Miss,’ Mary said.
Faith frowned then began washing her hands and face.
‘At least that’s what the Morgans use to call him,’ Mary added as she selected a morning dress of pale blue and white trim from the wardrobe.
‘I don’t believe in ghosts,’ Faith finally responded, ‘no, no, one of my walking dress, please.’
Faith waved the maid’s choice away then waited till she came back with a totally different dress; of lime green and black strips, before beginning to get dressed. Both women stayed silent throughout then leaving the maid to tidy the room, Faith went downstairs.
Walking into the dinning room, she found breakfast all laid out and awaiting her. Even though she didn’t feel like eating, Faith sat down and made herself a cup of tea. Sipping, she heard the grandmother clock chiming eight and the maid humming above her. With some light pouring in through the window, it felt easy to dismiss the boot steps of last night.
Nipping on some toast, Faith decided she had enough and went out for a walk. The fresh morning air really brought her back to her senses. The small village was all ready wide awake. Shops were getting ready to open and people were hurrying about. Faith walked passed the small church and out into the countryside.
The smell of grass and animals hung in the air, but Faith felt at home. She looped around the village, enjoying the warm sun and the birds flapping between the trees and hedgerows. Coming back into the village, she went into a tea shop and sat down to have some lunch.
‘Are you the new school teacher?’
Faith looked up at the waitress who had appeared with her tea and sandwiches, ‘Yes. I am.’
‘Am sure the Rector is delight you are here. He has been trying so hard to manage things since dear Mrs Pieton left us.’
‘I am sure he has been more then capable,’ Faith said as she arranged her napkin and hoped the girl got the hint to leave.
‘I heard you had brought the Morgan’s house. It’s haunted you know,’ the girl added.
Faith shot her a look, ‘I believe in no such things.’
The waitress bobbed and left her to her lunch.
Upon returning home, Faith found Mary in the study. The maid was emptying some of the books onto the shelves.
‘Good afternoon, Miss,’ Mary said, ‘I thought I would get started in here.’
‘It will take a long while to sort all my books and things,’ Faith added.
She walked over to her chair and sat down at her desk positioned under a window from which the front garden could be seen.
‘Would you like me to help you dress for the dinner you have tonight, Miss?’ Mary asked.
‘Yes, at the Rector’s?’
‘Of course. No, we still have time. Mary…what else do you know about this…ghost?’ Faith asked.
Mary slipped the last book in her hand onto a shelf then turned to her, ‘they say he was a solider, who was wounded on a battlefield close to here. He walked in begging for help, but the villagers were all scared and no one would open their door.’
Faith tapped a pencil on the desk and looked thoughtfully at the maid.
‘This cottage was empty at the time. The family in Manchester. He broke in through the back door and fell in the hallway. When the family returned, they found him dead and decided they could no longer stay here. If that had happened to me I would have left too!’ Mary gasped.
‘Where is the proof though?’ Faith asked a few moments later, ‘was there anything in the papers? Any witnesses?’
‘No, Miss. It is believed the army covered it all up,’ Mary answered.
Faith sighed and looked out of the window. The summer’s day was really getting underway and she could see the flowers in the front garden waving in the breeze.
‘Please go and get my dress ready for tonight,’ Faith uttered, ‘I wish to read awhile in here before I get dressed.’
‘Very well, Miss,’ Mary replied.
Curtsying, the maid left the room quietly.
Faith turned and began searching through the boxes. She found one of only three books she owned on the science of the supernatural and took it back to her desk. Flipping through, she read a few passages about ghosts before Mary knocked on the door and requested if she was ready to dress.
To Be Continued….